Detective Gordon: A Case for Buffy

Ulf Nilsson (Author) Gitte Spee (Illustrator)


The final story in this big-hearted series takes on the most important case ever investigated in Detective Gordon's forest--where is Buffy's mother? Gordon faces his old nemesis, the fox, in an investigation that leads to the edges of the forest.

-- "Website"

Product Details

$16.99  $15.63
Gecko Press
Publish Date
August 01, 2018
5.9 X 0.6 X 8.4 inches | 0.75 pounds

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About the Author

Ulf Nilsson is a celebrated children's writer based in Sweden. He has won the August Prize and the Batchelder Award.

Gitte Spee graduated from the Gerrit Rietveld Academie, a renowned academy of fine art and design in the Netherlands. She now works in Amsterdam as a children's book illustrator.


When a little toad and a little mouse appear at the forest police station, Buffy and Gordon accept them as students. Besides teaching them the principles and practices of policing, the detectives take them on a case: Buffy's search for the family she had forgotten after a 'ghastly catastrophe.' Written with empathy, precision, and wit, the latest volume in the Detective Gordon series fills in Buffy's backstory while sending the characters on an adventure that young readers (and prereaders lucky enough to hear it read aloud) will enjoy. Colorful illustrations capture the story's scary moments and cozy details, right down to the last little cake.--Booklist

-- "Website"

A very personal case for the detectives of the sweet little police station in the forest. Detective Buffy (a young mouse) and Detective Gordon (an old toad) handle nice, small cases like lost scarves and naughty, littering children in their forest district. When two students from the local kindergarten, a baby toad and a baby mouse, come to train as 'small police, ' they mention their mothers so often that Buffy becomes sad. She doesn't remember hers. Detective Gordon encourages her to write poetry to remember, and her verse leads to memories of her past. The four head out to Cave Island to discover what happened to Buffy's newly remembered mother and siblings. The island is across a mountain and, of course, a bit of water--and there is a fox there to deal with . . will he eat the police? Nilsson's fourth case for kind, wise (and tired) Detective Gordon and his cake-loving mouse protégée is no less charming than its predecessors. Marshall's deft, homey translation and Spee's colorful, plentiful illustrations of anthropomorphic animals give the book the feel of a classic you just hadn't discovered until now. A good choice for family reading time or newly minted readers of chapters. A gentle, mothercentric mystery that couldn't be less threatening and a fine addition to the series.--Kirkus Reviews

-- "Journal"

This fourth series entry (Detective Gordon: The First Case, rev. 5/15, and sequels) sees Detective Gordon slowing down but still enjoying life, his protégé Buffy having assumed most of the duties of the 'sweet little police station' in the forest. The toad-and-mouse pair's peaceful routine--their police work consists mostly of educating citizens to be kind to one another--is interrupted when Buffy suddenly realizes something catastrophic: before coming to the forest, she had been separated from her mother and her many mouse siblings and doesn't know their fate. Accompanied by two small volunteers, young toad Sune and young mouse Gertrude, the detectives set off on an urgent mission to Cave Island (Buffy's now-remembered home), solve the case, and reunite Buffy with her family. The adventure moves along briskly--with clues to unravel, a hungry Fox to reckon with, etc.--but deeper issues permeate the story, from the first pages to the last. How does Sune come up with where Buffy's family is hiding from Fox? He makes a poem to clarify his thinking. (As Detective Gordon says: 'Maybe you can catch a thought that is inside you.') What is the best action to take if one finds a hedgehog sleeping in the middle of a path? The young ones decide to wake her up and help her find a better place to sleep. ('Bravo . . . You don't need to go to the police for every little thing. You can simply be helpful.') The future is bright for both the forest police and for readers hoping for the next installment.--The Horn Book Magazine

-- "Journal"

Detective Buffy is a young mouse police officer under the tutelage of Detective Gordon, 'the famous criminal detective, the terror of all villains, ' who also happens to be a very old toad. Life is busy and productive in the 'sweet little police station' in the woods, with Buffy rubber-stamping ('kla-dunk') solved cases of litterbugs and missing scarves, and Gordon dozing in a cozy bed in the renovated prison.

Then two tiny kindergartners--another mouse and toad pair--show up for 'small police school, ' and in the ruckus of the young ones learning how to salute and spy, Buffy suddenly remembers the mother she lost when she herself was young. Distraught at not being able to remember what happened to her mother, she takes Gordon's advice: 'Why don't you start by writing small poems about your mother, so the memories come back. That's what a real police officer does.'

Sure enough, the memories flood back in several free-form poems, including this clincher: 'Sharp claws--Fox!/ Running here and there./ Waterfall, fir trees . . . / Running all day/ Over snow, over mountains./ Everyone's gone!' The stage is set for Buffy and Gordon's most important police investigation yet: 'find a mother!'

Following The First Case, A Complicated Case and A Case in Any Case, this stand-alone fourth book in the Detective Gordon series by Swedish author Ulf Nilsson and Dutch illustrator Gitte Spee is whimsical perfection. Spee's soft, colorful pictures are reminiscent of William Steig's classic illustrations. Readers who have graduated from early chapter books like Arnold Lobel's Frog and Toad series will adore A Case for Buffy, with its gentle adventures, droll humor and delicious cakes at every turn.

Discover: Swedish author Ulf Nilsson's Detective Gordon series delivers old-fashioned adventure with warmth and humor as the detectives take their most important case yet: finding Buffy's mother.--starred, Shelf Awareness

-- "Website"

The adorable crime-solving duo returns to deduce the whereabouts of Detective Buffy's mom. By focusing on Buffy's origin story, Nilsson deepens the series, which has already covered such meaningful themes as intergenerational friendship and bullying. This volume gently explores concepts like trauma, as when Buffy remembers the stressful circumstances under which she was separated from her entire family. There are a few loaded asides from Gordon that reinforce harmful forms of real-world bias ('Maybe mice could leave their families and think no more about them. You couldn't assume that everyone was like a completely ordinary toad'). This detracts from an otherwise thoughtfully crafted plot in which Gordon and Buffy learn from their younger sidekicks and Gordon acknowledges his own power. Spee's illustrations skillfully capture tender scenes along with spots of chuckle-worthy moments. VERDICT The charming pastoral setting, Gordon's wry antics, and Buffy's heartfelt journey will provide much comfort to fans of the series, especially on rainy days or before bed.--School Library Journal

-- "Journal"